In honor of Grilled Cheese Month, we hosted the 1st Annual Horny Toad Grilled Cheese Smackdown Invitational. We were delighted and honored that our friends at Loa Tree, C’est Cheese, the Santa Barbara Independent,LOVEmikana and Bici Centro rose to the challenge.
Though Horny Toad contributed some mighty fine entries (mac & cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich anyone?), the winners were as follows:
Best Presentation: Santa Barbara Independent (team name: Avant Grillers)
Brie and Gorgonzola with fresh strawberry honey butter and toasted almonds on a sweet Hawaiian roll with a side of strawberry relish in a balsamic reduction paired with a 10 year old aged rare tawny port from Kalyra Winery.
Most Well-Choreographed Grilled Cheese: LOVEmikana
– Homemade Bread
– Fire Roasted Peppers
– Cooked Chorizo Bits
– Emmentaller (a mild, nutty melting cheese)
– Homemade Guacamole
– Unsalted Butter
– Heat cast iron skillet on medium heat.
– Meanwhile, build your beautiful sandwich with above listed ingredients. Butter both slices of bread.
– Place into hot skillet
– Wait impatiently
– Continue to wait impatiently
– Eat. Enjoy with glee.
Best On The Fly Prep: BiciCentro
We do not have their recipe as of this posting, but rest assured, it was delicious and contained pesto. Delish.
Best Overall: C’est CheeseGoat Grilled Cheese
Monterey Jacques Organic Goat Jack from Sierra Nevada
Beemster goat Gouda from Holland
Fire-roasted piquillo peppers from Spain
Spanish spicy chorizo
D’Angelo’s Italian Loaf bread with a smear of Plugra butter
And though they didn’t win an actual award, Loa Tree definitely deserves Honorable Mention (and shout out for best hangover food):
Sour Dough Bread
Organic, garden fresh tomatoes
Organic, garden fresh basil
Salt and pepper
1) Fry bacon, store bacon fat.
2) Prep ingredients: slice tomatoes, shred cheddar cheese, slice buffalo mozzarella thin, chop basil into slivers, spread bacon fat onto all bread slices (3 slices per sandwich). Salt and pepper tomatoes if desired.
3) Heat panini press to high.
4) Once all ingredients are prepared, take one slice of bread, place a layer of bacon on that slice and top with shredded cheddar. Take second slice of bread and place sliced mozzarella on it. Place these two slices ‘open face’ on panini press. Place third slice with no cheese on panini press as well.
5) Heat open face slices till cheese melts, holding top of panini press half-closed (placing top of press close to cheese but not touching it); heat 3rd slice till golden brown, flipping as often as necessary to achieve golden brown perfection. Option to press panini onto the cheese itself to achieve complete and golden crispy melt.
6) Once melt is complete on both breads, stack buffalo mozzarella bread gently on top of cheddar bread – do NOT flip buffalo bread slice, but instead, place with buffalo cheese remaining ‘open face.’ Add third slice of bread to top off the buffalo slice. Press gently with panini.
7) After a quick press, remove sandwich from panini, remove top slice of bread, and insert tomato slices and basis shreds. Replace top slice of bread.
8) Optional. Once sandwich is complete, option to add light layer of crumbled bacon and shredded cheese to top of sanwhich, re-insert into panini press, and lightly melt cheeze/bacon crumble by pressing top of panini press to top of sandwhich.
These were all SO good! We’d like to thank our friends for making this night such a fun and tasty event – we can’t wait to do it again next year!